I just now strolled through the back yard for the first time in nearly a week. I yanked the buds off a few buttercups, pulled a weed or two and, pausing, noticed plants fell all over the paths; pink and white blossoms of lupin, resembling nothing so much as blown-out candles which lay sodden across a low lying yarrow, a reaction to all the wet and sudden sunshine. H0sta lay flat over the path around the terrace. Above more hosta, the big leaf variegated kind, produced new plants that showed no sign of slowing down. It seems to me that about this time in June they are pushing up buds, but no sign yet on this bunch. My mystery plant, a distant relative of the snapdragon has put up three prickly flower stems. That reminds me of the years I tended the helpless little thing, and how I took it to the biology department at Hartwick, where a young instructor went to great effort to identify it. It was what I call a volunteer, probably planted by a bird flying over the bed. How wonderful that is, but maybe not as wonderful as the great big mound of prickly leaves it is now. Clematis is headed across the arbor, another new thing, and the big ferns are at least five feet tall. Around the side of the house sedum and thyme fight over space. It is all very strange, almost as if the CO2 climatologists have been predicting all fell down in a gaseous fertilizing cloud. It is going to be so much work to put it straight that my heart quails. But Betsy will be home and on vacation and together we will attack the madness and bring back a little order to what seems now a mindless chaos.
So much of what we used to know, were almost born knowing, is no longer knowable. It snowed a bit in North Dakota in June; there is drouth in Colorado and fires in the Arizona desert. There are lightning storms that strike people and houses, but don’t bring rain. In the short period of May the president was called three times to visit another devastated area, devastated by tornadoes and floods. But so much of the strangeness we feel seems to be inexpressible. We do know that something is amiss, but are we capable of learning what it is, and of figuring out what to do about it? Well, not if we wait much longer. We must let our president know that we want to invest in saving the planet, for if we don’t invest money in saving the planet there might not be much of a planet left to invest in.
The president needs to learn to think in bigger terms than just the possibility of finding a bit more oil. He needs to find the people who will harness the sun, and they are out there. I’m sure that Angela Merkel of Germany and her vow to create a green economy could help the president focus more clearly on these question of power, both the kind we need to run our society and the power he should muster to put that other power into action.
Maybe he believes that the plutocracy can get along all right by making the goods they will sell to one another, but they must remember that a crumbling society unable to take care of itself is a poor backdrop for the rich people even if they are just a tiny consuming part of the nation and the world. No, it has to be everybody or it will end up nobody. That’s also why Betsy and I have to get to work on our garden, where the most powerful plants are making every effort to run roughshod and ruinously over the weak plants they have been creating as they exercised their rapacious ways. At this moment Betsy and I are leaning toward faith in the future. I hope we’re right.